Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Bookmark and Share
File #: 2022-2055   
Type: Regular Agenda Item
Body: Transportation Commission
On agenda: 5/25/2022
Title: Recommend City Council Approval of the Grand Street Improvement Project Concept (Robert Vance, City Engineer and NCE/Fehr & Peers staff) (Action Item)
Attachments: 1. Street Configuration (Alternative), 2. Proposed Street Configuration (Recommendation), 3. 2022 Survey - GrandStreet Questionnaire April 2022, 4. 2022 Survey - GrandStreet Results April 2022, 5. Grand St Community Workshop #2 Notes May 6 2022, 6. Grand St Transportation Commission May 25, 2022 PowerPoint, 7. Correspondence – Batch 1, 8. Correspondence - Batch 2, 9. Correspondence - Batch 3, 10. Correspondence - Batch 4

Title

Recommend City Council Approval of the Grand Street Improvement Project Concept (Robert Vance, City Engineer and NCE/Fehr & Peers staff) (Action Item)

Body

 

To: Honorable Chair and Members of the Transportation Commission

 

BACKGROUND

 

The City has identified Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Encinal Avenue as a high priority for safety and mobility improvements.  City staff is working with NCE and Fehr & Peers to develop construction plans for the street. The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvement Project is partially funded by the second round of the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which distributed federal transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration to projects and programs throughout the Bay Area.

 

The project area is approximately 0.7 miles long and is a major north-south multimodal corridor.  It is also a high-injury corridor with high crash intersections at Otis Drive and at Shore Line Drive according to the City's Vision Zero Action Plan. Wood Middle School, Rittler Park and the Alameda shoreline are adjacent to Grand Street, and Franklin Elementary School, Franklin Park, and St. Joseph’s Elementary School are within ¼ mile of Grand Street. Grand Street connects with existing bicycle facilities on Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive and will connect with future bike lanes on Encinal Avenue that Caltrans will install in the next year. AC Transit currently serves Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive.

 

For the Grand Street project goals, the City seeks to:

                     Improve Alameda’s pavement condition for enhanced street operations and user experience, and to reduce future maintenance costs.

                     Promote safety by prioritizing Vision Zero, which the City Council approved as a policy in 2019 to reduce traffic deaths and severe injuries to zero.

                     Improve mobility for all modes, including AC Transit buses.

                     Comply with existing plans and policies, including the City’s General Plan and Draft Active Transportation Plan.

 

This pavement rehabilitation project has multiple benefits for all street users. Better-maintained streets have fewer potholes, improved ride quality, and pavement that is eligible for less costly preservation in the future. The street resurfacing includes curb and gutter repairs to address stormwater flow, and improved curb ramps and intersection grading for ADA accessibility. 

 

The project also includes safety improvements such as high visibility crosswalks, curb extensions, flashing beacons at Wood School and at the Grand Street/San Antonio Avenue intersection, a separated bike lane for Wood School access/egress, enhancements to bike lanes including buffering where space is available, enhanced bus stops by Shore Line Drive and Wood School, and narrower travel lanes to encourage slower vehicle speeds. Separated bike lanes also are proposed between Otis Drive and Encinal Avenue to reduce speeding and to improve safety for people bicycling. On-street parking will be reduced where needed to provide safety features such as bus islands, separated bike lanes, and intersection daylighting.

 

Due to the federal funding involved with this project, city staff and the consulting team have engaged with MTC, the Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). This project is included in the State Transportation Improvement Program, with $827,000 in federal funds for construction in Federal Fiscal Year 2022-23. The city will need to expend the federal funds by October 2023 to receive reimbursement for project expenses. 

 

The project team has submitted required environmental clearance documentation to Caltrans and received a signed California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemption/ National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Categorical Exclusion Determination Form in September 2021. Caltrans determined that this project has no significant impacts on the environment as defined by the NEPA. As such, the project is categorically excluded from the requirements to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) or Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under NEPA.

 

The project schedule is as follows:

 

                     January 2021: Began consultant environmental clearance and design work

                     September 2021: Completed environmental clearance - CEQA and NEPA

                     December 9, 2021: Virtual community workshop #1 and survey #1

                     Early 2022: collected additional data, including use of existing bicycle facilities in corridor

                     May 4, 2022: Virtual community workshop #2 and survey #2

                     May 25, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.: Request recommendation for City Council approval of concept by the Transportation Commission

                     July 5, 2022 at 7 p.m.: Request approval of concept by City Council

                     Fall 2022: Complete design and bid for construction

                     Mid 2023: Complete construction

 

The purpose of this agenda item is to present the Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements and seek the Transportation Commission’s recommendation of City Council approval for the proposed improvements.

 

The project webpage is www.alamedaca.gov/GrandStreet <http://www.alamedaca.gov/GrandStreet>

 

DISCUSSION

 

In 2021, the consultant team prepared design drawings to the 65 percent completion level, which included the pavement design, civil improvements, and pavement striping plans. These plans were presented at an online community workshop on December 9, 2021. The plans included much of the same improvements currently proposed between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive. However, north of Otis Drive, the separated bicycle facilities transitioned to Class II bike lanes, with parking along the curb on both sides of the street, and striped bike lanes between the parking and travel lanes as currently exists. Curb extensions, daylighting and high visibility crosswalks were included at intersections to improve visibility and safety for all users. These plans are included as Exhibit 1.

 

In 2022, as a result of community member input from the workshop and survey, and policies included in the 2021 General Plan update, the consulting team collected additional information to evaluate the potential for separated bicycle lanes between Otis Drive and Encinal Avenue. The results showed that observed speeds are often higher than the 25 miles per hour (mph) posted speed limit, with 32 mph for 85th percentile speed. Approximately 55 percent of children cyclists were observed riding on the sidewalk or in the parking shoulder. Crash data from 2015 to 2019 showed that 35 percent of injury bicycle crashes involved children. In addition, the observed traffic volumes indicated that separated bike facilities should be considered due to their potential to improve safety for all users. Observed parking occupancy was approximately 30 percent of capacity. Because of the limited street width, it is not possible to provide separated bike facilities with parking on both sides of the street for the entire corridor. Nevertheless, providing parking on only one side of the street complicates access to the adjacent land uses. The proposed solution is to provide separated bike lanes along the curb lanes with parking alternating between sides on each block, which also will help further reduce speeds. These plans are included as Exhibit 2.

 

City staff and the consultant team presented the proposed street configuration in a second online community workshop on May 4, 2022. The workshop had 25 participants. In addition, the project team conducted an online survey and received 332 responses. Exhibits 3 through 5 show the questionnaire, survey results and notes from the community workshop, respectively. For the online survey, it represents an over sampling of people who bicycle and renters, minorities and Wood School affiliates appear to be underrepresented. The majority of the respondents stated that they are dissatisfied with the safety of the corridor, however, less than half (38 percent) are dissatisfied with how Grand Street operates. The majority of respondents indicated that bicycle and pedestrian comfort, safety for all road users and lowering traffic speeds were important, while 21 percent of respondents indicated that maintaining plentiful parking supply was important. When asked about the preferred bikeway option for Grand Street, 75 percent preferred the separated bikeway. The open-ended responses show a variety of viewpoints ranging from supporting separated bikeways to opposing them, with concerns about visibility, space for deliveries and emergency access. Safety concerns focused on speeding, street crossings for pedestrians and children walking and biking to school.

 

Proposed Improvements

The proposed improvements include various strategies to improve safety and mobility such as resurfacing, flashing beacons, pedestrian crossing improvements, bike facilities, and bus stop enhancements as shown below and in Exhibit 2.

 

Street Resurfacing

The resurfacing limits are as follows:

                     Shore Line Drive (just north of the intersection) and Otis Drive (just south of the intersection)

                     Otis Drive (just north of the intersection) to Encinal Avenue (just south of the intersection), and excluding the concrete bridge deck between Otis Drive and Palmera Court.

 

The intersection of Grand Street and Shore Line Drive is scheduled to be crack-sealed and restriped as a separate pavement maintenance project in the second half of 2022. The intersection of Grand Street and Otis Drive is in good condition and was partially resurfaced in 2021 with the Otis Drive Project. The intersection of Grand Street and Encinal Avenue will be resurfaced with a Caltrans project expected to begin in mid-2022.

 

This pavement rehabilitation project has multiple benefits for all street users.  Better maintained streets have fewer potholes, improved ride quality, and pavement that is eligible for less costly preservation in future. The resurfacing includes curb and gutter repairs to address stormwater flow, and improved curb ramps and intersection grading for ADA accessibility.

 

Flashing Beacons

Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) can reduce pedestrian crashes up to 47 percent, and can increase motorists yielding rates up to 98 percent and are proposed at the following locations:

                     Wood Middle School mid-block crossing

                     Grand Street and San Antonio Avenue

 

Pedestrian Crossing Improvements

Besides flashing beacons, other pedestrian crossing improvements will include the following treatments at various locations throughout the corridor:

                     High visibility crosswalks, which can reduce pedestrian injury crashes by 40 percent

                     Advanced yield or stop markings and signs, which can reduce pedestrian crashes up to 25 percent

 

Bike Lanes

Existing bike lanes on Grand Street include Class II facilities (between parked vehicles and travel lanes) and a Class IV separated bike lane in the northbound direction adjacent to Rittler Park. Otis Drive and Grand Street is a protected intersection that reduces conflict between bicycles and turning vehicles.

 

The proposed design extends the Class IV separated bike lane between Shore Line and Otis Drive in the northbound direction (east side of the street). In the southbound direction, the bike lane will be enhanced with buffer striping to provide space between parked vehicles and the bike lane to reduce the chance of “dooring” incidents.

 

North of Otis Drive, a separated bike facility is recommended to be provided in both directions until just south of Encinal Avenue. Due to the narrower street width north of the lagoon bridge, it is not possible to provide separated bike facilities with parking on both sides of the street for the entire street segment. The proposed solution provides separated bike lanes along the curbs, with parking between the bike lanes and the travel lanes, alternating between sides on each block. While this proposal reduces the overall amount of parking spaces, it aligns the parking supply with the observed peak occupancy, as shown in the table below.

 

Segment

Parking Supply With Concept

Peak Parking Occupancy  (Weekday PM)

Palmera/Dayton

4

4

Dayton/Clinton

7

8

Clinton/San Jose

4

4

San Jose/San Antonio

7

6

San Antonio/Encinal

10

6

 

Parking space reductions are also needed to provide visibility at intersections (daylighting) and at driveways.

 

Bus Stop Enhancements

AC Transit provides service on Grand Street between Shore Line Drive and Otis Drive. To provide the northbound separated bike facility in this area, two bus islands are proposed:

                     Grand Street and Shore Line Drive - north of the intersection

                     Wood Middle School - midblock between the pedestrian refuge island and Otis Drive.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project (C11000) is funded by Measures B/BB, Alameda County’s transportation sales tax, which is administered by the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Additional funding is provided by the second round of the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG 2) program, administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which distributed federal transportation funding from the Federal Highway Administration to projects and programs throughout the Bay Area.

 

The expected project costs are as follows:

 

Project Phase

Estimated Cost

Environmental Clearance and Design

$335,600

Construction (including 20% contingency)

$2,100,000

Additional grading and material cost for separated bike lanes north of Otis Dr.

$400,000

Construction management and staff costs

$250,000

Total Project Cost

$3,085,600

 

The OBAG 2 federal grant funding is expected to contribute $827,000 to the project cost, with the remaining funds provided by local sources, including Measure B/BB.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The Grand Street Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project is consistent with the General Plan (2021) and makes progress towards meeting the four goals of the Mobility Element, which are as follows:

 

Goal 1 - Equity: Provide for the mobility needs of all Alameda residents, workers, and visitors regardless of income, age, ability, or neighborhood.

 

Goal 2 - Safety: Eliminate fatalities and severe injuries on Alameda’s streets, sidewalks, crosswalks and trails by 2035.

 

Goal 3 - Choices: Expand and improve alternatives to low occupancy automobile trips to incentivize mode shift to more environmentally sustainable modes of transportation while recognizing the diverse needs for mobility.

 

Goal 4 - Sustainability: Reduce the impacts of transportation systems on the environment, and transition to a more resilient transportation system to address the impacts of climate change.

 

Separated bicycle facilities are supported in the Mobility Element policies as follows:

 

                     Safety First: When designing streets, the safest treatments should be considered the default starting point and be degraded only if necessary after documenting rationale for the approach. (Policy ME-6, Action B.)

 

                     Space Priorities: When allocating public right-of-way space, the first consideration shall be for people walking, bicycling, and using transit. Space for on-street parking shall be the lower priority. (Policy ME-6, Action G.)

 

                     Design for 25 mph Speeds: Reduce the severity of injuries and reduce fatalities by designing streets for a maximum vehicle speed of 25 MPH or less. (Policy ME-7, Action A.)

 

                     Low-Stress Bikeways: Provide separated bicycle lanes instead of unprotected, standard bicycle lanes, unless not feasible. (Policy ME-14, Action H.)

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

The Grand Street  Resurfacing and Safety Improvements Project is categorically exempt pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15301(c) Existing Facilities (Minor alterations to existing facilities including bicycle facilities) and Section 15304(h) Minor Alterations to Land and the creation of bicycle lanes on existing public rights of way. In September 2021, Caltrans determined that this project has no significant impacts on the environment as defined by NEPA. As such, the project is categorically excluded from the requirements to prepare an EA or EIS under NEPA.

 

CLIMATE IMPACT

 

Since vehicle miles traveled in Alameda is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda, City staff is expecting that the proposed improvements to Grand Street would have a positive climate impact.  The concept is being developed to make it safer and more convenient to ride a bicycle, use the bus and walk and to reduce congestion and idling motor vehicles.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Recommend City Council Approval of the Grand Street Improvement Concept

 

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Vance, Public Works Deputy Director/City Engineer

 

Exhibits:

1.                     Street Configuration (Alternative)

2.                     Proposed Street Configuration (Recommendation)

3.                     Online Survey - Questionnaire

4.                     Online Survey Results

5.                     Community Workshop Notes

6.                     Presentation